Mallard Creek’s decisive 42-9 home football victory over Butler on Friday night probably won’t rank among the all-time greatest matchups, of these two Charlotte-area rivals — who between them have won six of the last eight Class 4AA championships.
The Mavericks, ranked No. 2 in the Observer’s Sweet 16, took an opening punch in the mouth from the No. 4 Bulldogs in the form of a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior defensive back T.J. Cusick just a minute and 7 seconds into the game.
But Mallard Creek was dominant the rest of the way, behind four touchdown runs by senior running back Nasjzae Bryant and a defense that allowed the Bulldogs 129 total yards and no offensive points.
After Butler’s opening bombshell, the Mavericks answered with a quick 85-yard march ending with an 18-yard scoring run by Bryant and took the lead for good by taking advantage of a turnover late in the first quarter.
Linebacker Keeshon Martin recovered a fumble by Bulldog quarterback Christian Peters at the Butler 25 and Bryant scored from 1 yard out three plays later.
Mallard Creek took a 21-7 lead to halftime on quarterback Jadyn Washington’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Teddy Creecy about three minutes before the break.
The Mavericks extended their lead to 35-7 in the fourth quarter before Butler got its only other points on an intentional safety by Mallard Creek.
Bryant had a pair of 4-yard touchdown runs in the second half.
Running back Tenton Simpson carried 14 times for 150 yards for Mallard Creek and running back Nijere Phillips rushed for 84 yards on 18 carries for Butler.
Records: Butler 0-1; Mallard Creek 2-0.
What's Next: Both Butler and Mallard Creek have next Friday off. The Bulldogs are at Richmond County on Sept. 8 and Mallard Creek will host Berry Academy.